Readjustments to Procurement Law
The manufacturer of sustainable cleaning products in recyclable packaging, tana-Chemie of Mainz, demands stricter specifications for the awarding of public procurement contracts. Public authorities currently give little consideration to the issue of sustainability when purchasing services and products, for which they spend 350 billion EUR annually, a good portion of which goes toward the cleaning of public buildings and the necessary cleaning products. "We need more stringent requirements and have to make sustainability the basis of contract-awarding criteria," said tana-Chemie Managing Director Werner Schulze, at FAIR FRIENDS in Dortmund at the beginning of September. In a panel discussion on the subject of "Sustainable Procurement – Does it make economic sense?" Schulze discussed public authorities' contract-awarding practices with representatives of municipalities, churches and the Competence Center for Sustainable Procurement in the procurement office of the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI). The discussion was led by Ulla Burchardt, member of the board for Sustainable Development (RNE) and Thomas Kubendorff, sustainability ambassador and former chief administrator for the Steinfurt district.
Sustainability: Recommendation or Directive?
The discussion revolved around the question of whether or not sustainability pays off for public authorities. Sustainable cleaning products, said Schulze, are not necessarily more expensive and, thanks to their recyclable packaging and formulas, are even cheaper in the long run as expensive raw materials are conserved. Schulze is convinced that political readjustments have to be made to the procurement law. "Many administrative offices, schools and public institutions would like to be role models in environmental awareness, but fall short when faced with strict local cost-saving guidelines," he said, pointing out the discrepancy between having an ecological mindset and the financial means to pursue environmental goals. To date, procurement law contains no obligation but only a recommendation to consider sustainable products in the tendering process. In contrast, the economic use of municipal finances is a directive to which public agencies are forced to comply for budgetary reasons. In addition to the costs, the composition and origin of the products have to be taken into consideration, said Schulze.
Raise collective awareness of ecological issues
In the end the companies themselves should bring the sustainability of their products and services into the public focus and thereby promote a collective ecological awareness. Schulze said that a trade fair like FAIR FRIENDS offers outstanding opportunities to do so. The tana-Chemie GmbH informed industry visitors and guests of recyclable products, packaging and renewable raw materials at the company's booth. Other exhibitors represented companies and institutions from industry, trade, services, gastronomy, education and research, world shops, the public sector and the financial industry. This year more than 6000 people visited FAIR FRIENDS, the trade fair for sustainable lifestyles, fair trade and social responsibility. In 2019 the fair will be held again from 5 to 8 September. Nearly half of the industry attendees are involved in procurement decisions as advisors or participants.
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tana-Chemie GmbH, the PROFESSIONAL Division from Werner & Mertz, offers an extensive range of customized cleaning and disinfection solutions for professional users in building cleaning, healthcare, hotels, gastronomy and catering. Production takes place in compliance with strict EU criteria at EMAS-certified sites in Germany and Austria. In following its integrally sustainable corporate philosophy, the company has set pioneering standards in ecology, economy and social matters along the entire supply chain. For 150 years the family-owned and operated Werner & Mertz has stood for competence in cleaning, care and value preservation.
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